“Traditionally there is the epic form, and in opposition, there is the dramatic form. When we speak of the dramatic form it is motivated towards a result, towards a goal. About ninety-nine percent of films, whether made by serious filmmakers or Hollywood, are actually dramatic films.
Dramatic films could be psychologically, sociologically determined, or just determined by a plot – let’s say a thriller. They could be comic or belong to any other genre. A dramatic film must proceed to an end. So the argument that it raises between characters, or in the plot itself, must be resolved, and then it heads towards kind of a convergence, a climax. Say the conflict between good and bad is resolved in the end.
The epic form is just the opposite, which means that the narrative is usually very thin, very spread out and at every stage that it develops, it tries to have wider perspectives. Not just concerning the characters but also about nature, history or ideas. These are not just a description of society, but visions of epochs that have gone by. So it cannot be just a simple movement, a narrative moving forward, but as the story is narrated, it must also embrace and spread out.”
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I think reacting and writing is my therapy..some thoughts on RAEES..
— SPOILERS, MILD, or SPICY depending on your mood–
In one of the pre-release interviews of Dholakia, I had heard that RAEES floated as an idea for an indie film with a few Gujarati US investors who just wanted to make a film on prohibition in Gujarat in the ‘80s. Somewhere, he said, the film grew ‘organically’ into a big-budgeted film with SRK and Sidhwani entering the playground. And I heard this interview after I saw the full-on masala trailer of RAEES. It sounded intriguing, as well as ominous. I didn’t like Dholakia’s PARZANIA for ideological reasons but loved his focused-take on the subject through the mental trauma of a couple. LAMHAA, where he climbed two rungs-up toward commercialism, was a very uneven film and one could feel Dholakia’s uncertainty when it came to welding serious issues with commercial Hindi cinema with stars in their own small galaxies like Basu and Dutt. And then, he decides to leap-frog to one of the Khan triumvirate, Shah Rukh Khan, with a movie that began as an indie! You know, this is no longer the SRK from Mani Kaul’s Dostoevsky’s adaptation of THE IDIOT or even IN WHICH ANNIE GIVES IT TO THOSE ONES: Heck, this is no longer even the SRK form PAHELI: He is someone trying to break desperately into some crore-club. It’s an irony but I don’t know whom to call Dostoevsky’s idiot; Dholakia for trusting that his vision of an indie would remain unfettered with SRK as the hero in his film, or, SRK, for thinking that he would manage to make Dholakia give an ‘engaging’—I am not talking of massy here—film within the commercial diktats of Hindi cinema. Continue reading
Saw Raees. Thought it was an interesting concept, with plenty of potential to be an excellent masala crime thriller, undermined by uneven, unclear characterisation of the central character. The first half is good enough, but it is the second half where most of the real tension occurs. The first half devotes time to Raees’ ascent and there are a few scenes that uplift the drama. The action sequence in the meat centre is stark, raw and chilling. Also, you get a rare glimpse of Raees’ vulnerability when he sees a new side to his boss, Atul Kulkarni at the card table. But I was disappointed not to get a real sense of who Raees really is. I wish I could call him complex or fascinating. But without knowing him at all, how can one tell? What are this character’s motivations? Why does he feel compelled to take to crime? His mother’s words that no dhanda is too small keeps getting repeated, as if to justify what he does. But surely, there needed to be a stronger motive here. Why would you cheer for a criminal otherwise? Why would you celebrate him being able to get the better of Nawazuddin (brilliant!) each time? A criminal’s story has to have a strong emotional core –take Deewar, take Satya. The compulsions are weak in Raees. And that is part of my frustration with this film. This aspect could have been taken care of by paying more attention to character development.